United Nations chief urges action on climate change as Trump debates

President Donald Trump will announce this afternoon from the Rose Garden his decision on whether the United States will remain a party to the 2015 Paris climate accord, a landmark pact meant to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. The White House said the US will stop contributing to the United Nations Green Climate Fund and will stop reporting carbon data as required by the Paris accord, although domestic regulations require that reporting anyway.

America's worldwide allies and Trump's domestic opponents lashed out Wednesday at media reports that he had made up his mind to pull Washington out of the global accord to curb carbon emissions - a move that would make the deal less effective.

Trump said he'd make a decision on the Paris agreement sometime this week.

Guterres said climate change is "undeniable", in a stark contrast to the position taken by Trump, who has previously called it a "a hoax" and last week shrugged off pressure from the U.S. allies during the G7 summit in Sicily to endorse the deal his predecessor Barack Obama worked passionately to achieve. "Only Syria and Nicaragua are not part of the 197-country agreement, which lays out voluntary goals for reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions".

The US is among the 147 countries and parties that have ratified the agreement but President Donald Trump has voiced concerns that the deal signed by the previous US administration could harm the US economy.

Trump faced considerable pressure to hold to the deal during visits with European leaders and Pope Francis on his recent trip overseas.

Almost 200 nations, including the United States, agreed in 2015 to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to combat climate change. "U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets". S. will withdraw from the Paris global climate pact, according to a White House official, congressional officials and others briefed by the White House. The official says Trump and his aides are looking at "caveats in the language" related to the exit.

Trump promised during his presidential campaign to pull the USA out of the deal. His decision ended weeks of speculation, some of it fueled by Trump himself and his Cabinet members. "There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not".

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Wednesday in Alaska that he had "yet to read what the actual Paris Agreement is", and would have to read it before weighing in. In the case of China, that the USA would so willingly give up its leadership position in the agreement is an enticing prospect.

The House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, referred to it as "a stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet's future".

He pointed out the seriousness of climate change and said its effects were unsafe and they were accelerating.

He meets Wednesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who supported remaining in the deal.

What is not yet clear is whether Trump plans to initiate a formal withdrawal from the Paris accord, which under the terms of the agreement could take three years, or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty on which the accord was based.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, estimates that unchecked climate change could cost the USA economy nearly $2 trillion per year in current dollars by 2100.

Trump has also talked about "re-negotiating" the agreement, a work that was the result of more than a decade of global meetings, proposals and adjustments.

  • Larry Hoffman